WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign reached a significant milestone Thursday, surpassing President Barack Obama’s fundraising efforts for the first time with $76.8 million raised in May alone.
Obama’s campaign announced that it and the Democratic National Committee had raised more than $60 million.
In the second month of joint fundraising between Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, 93 percent of donations were of $250 of less, totaling 297,442 individuals. That led to a grand total of more than 319,800 donors for Romney, compared with the more than 572,000 who donated to Obama and the DNC in May. Ninety-eight percent of donations to the president and the DNC were $250 or less.
The Romney campaign now has $107 million cash on hand, while Obama and the DNC have yet to release their total.
Obama and Romney were nearly neck-and-neck in fundraising in April, with $43.6 and $40.1 million respectively, but Romney and the RNC’s month-to-month increase of $36.7 million more than doubled that of the president and the DNC.
Obama’s May total was boosted by a fundraiser hosted by George Clooney that brought in as much as $15 million from attendees and online donors hoping to win a spot on the guest list.
Also propelling the month’s fundraising was the president’s support for gay marriage, announced in a television interview last month. The endorsement set off a wave of donations from same-sex marriage supporters.
UN monitors shot at near site of Syrian killings
BEIRUT — U.N. observers came under fire Thursday as they tried to reach the site of the latest reported mass killing in Syria — about 80 people, including women and children who were shot or stabbed. The deaths added urgency to diplomatic efforts to end the escalating bloodshed.
As reports emerged of what would be the fourth such mass slaying of civilians in Syria in the last two weeks, the United States condemned President Bashar Assad, saying he has “doubled down on his brutality and duplicity.”
International envoy Kofi Annan, whose peace plan brokered in April has not been implemented, warned against allowing “mass killings to become part of everyday reality in Syria.”
“If things do not change, the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence, and even all-out civil war,” Annan told the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “All Syrians will lose.”
U.N. diplomats said Annan was proposing that world powers and key regional players, including Iran, come up with a new strategy to end the 15-month conflict at a closed meeting of the Security Council that took place Thursday.